The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that the 13th annual Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC)—to be held for the first time at Treasure Island Las Vegas—will take place on Friday and Saturday, January 27-28, 2012. Total purse for the event is estimated at a record $2 million, with the winner receiving a record $1 million grand prize and an Eclipse Award as “Handicapper of the Year”.
NHC 13 will also have a record field of approximately 525 contestants—all of whom will have qualified via NTRA-sanctioned local tournaments held at racetracks, casinos, off-track betting facilities, and at horse racing and handicapping websites. Among those who have already qualified are defending NHC champion John Doyle; previous NHC champs Judy Wagner, Stanley Bavlish and Brian Troop; 2009 NHC Tour winner Bryan Wagner; and 2010 NHC Tour victor Tom Noone.
Participation in this year’s NHC Tour also represents an all-time mark, with 3,800 members signed up thus far in 2011—a 242% increase compared to the previous high of 1,110 in 2010. NHC Tour membership in 2011 requires a one-time fee of $45 which, for the first time in 2011, is mandatory for those wishing to qualify for the NHC. Additional prize money and NHC qualifying berths are also offered as part of the NHC Tour to leading scorers.
The competition format for January’s upcoming NHC will remain unchanged. Players will be required to make mythical $2.00 win and place wagers on 15 races during each of the two days. Eight of the mythical wagers each day will be on designated mandatory races that all contestants must play. The other seven can be on any other races from the menu of contest tracks. Payoffs are capped at $42.00 to win and $22.00 to place. The contestant with the highest mythical bankroll at the conclusion of the two-day competition will be the grand prize winner.
“Thanks to our sponsors, including Daily Racing Form, tournament hosts and participating fans, everything is in place to make the upcoming NHC at Treasure Island the biggest and richest ever,” said Keith Chamblin, senior vice president of the NTRA. “The other bit of exciting news for horseplayers is that more than half of the 525 seats to the NHC are still to be filled between now and next January. So there is still ample opportunity to win a coveted spot at this unforgettable event.”
As part of the recent tradition surrounding the NHC, the final opportunity to qualify for the NHC will take place at a “Last Chance” tournament to be hosted by Treasure Island Las Vegas on Wednesday, January 25. To see the complete remaining list of NHC qualifying events around North America, visit www.ntra.com/nhctour
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In just its 13th year, the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship, presented by Treasure Island and Sovereign Stable, is the most important tournament of the year for horseplayers and is the culmination of a year-long series of NTRA-sanctioned local tournaments conducted by racetracks, casino race books, off-track betting facilities and horse racing and handicapping Web sites, each of which sends its top qualifiers to the national finals. The NHC has enjoyed significant growth during its first 12 years. The inaugural event in 2000 carried an overall purse of $200,000 and a winner’s prize of $100,000.
The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of horse racing interests consisting of leading Thoroughbred racetracks, owners, breeders, trainers, horseplayers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity of horse racing and improving economic conditions for industry participants. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. NTRA press releases appear on the NTRA web site, NTRA.com